A Weekend in My Life Featuring Easter Festivities

Happy Spring! It’s hard to believe it’s already April, but that also means we are entering one of my favorite times of the year at Princeton, when the flowers are in full bloom. I had a busy Easter weekend, but I appreciated the opportunity to celebrate with friends, soak in the beautiful weather, and enjoy a change of pace from my schoolwork. On Good Friday, I attended a service organized by students in Princeton Christian Fellowship (PCF), Manna Christian Fellowship, and Christian Union Nova which I had been looking forward to all week. The service included beautiful strings and vocal performances, worship songs, a message from a Manna staff member, and a time of prayer. Following the service, we enjoyed apple cider donuts and fellowship in Murray Dodge, the home of the Office of Religious Life. I caught up with some friends about their week, met a few new faces, and even ran into a friend from the Class of 2023 who made a surprise visit from Boston.

On Saturday morning, I had the luxury of sleeping in until I was woken by the sunlight. I went for a 7 mile run, my longest run yet, as part of training for my first half-marathon. I am really happy with how it went and am excited to continue running longer distances in the coming weeks! Afterwards, I headed to my co-op, 2D, which has become one of my favorite places at Princeton. Co-ops are groups of students who take turns cooking one meal each week. To be honest, I think I am eating as well as I might ever eat in my life! I am constantly surprised by the diversity of delicious food which the other students prepare, from dal to mapo tofu, and focaccia to cardamom buns. 


Girl carrying a mug standing in front of a counter. A large heart-shaped cake frosted with pink icing is on the counter.


My cookshift is Saturday brunch, and I usually like to make a tofu stir fry in our wok, which is large enough to cover four burners. After a delicious meal of mushrooms, spicy tofu, salad made with hydroponic lettuce and vegetables from the Forbes garden, squash soup, and cornbread, I headed back to my room to do some schoolwork.

A few hours later, I got ready for my dear friend Mirae’s bridal shower. Mirae was actually my Community Action orientation leader and one of the first people I met at Princeton. She and her then-boyfriend, now fiancé, helped one of my first-year roommates and I carry a free couch we found a mile off campus all the way to our room, even though she had only met me the day before. The bridal shower was beautifully executed by her friends in Princeton Christian Fellowship and beyond, and I was also able to catch up with another good friend from the Class of 2022 who came down from New York City.


A table of cookies, cake, a charcuterie board, and a vase of flowers


Gifts and cards with “for the bride to be” and “Mirae” written on top


Two girls conferring about how to act out a charades clue and two rows of audience members
(Photo credits to Katherine Roegner) 


After the bridal shower, I headed to the International Food Fest organized by our Class Government, which featured food from around the world and was a great chance to catch up with a friend who I studied abroad with last semester and discuss a book we both recently finished.


Blooming magnolia trees by a bench and walkway in front of the economics and international building


My friend and I went back to my room, where I did a reading for my Psychotherapy class before heading over to Richardson Auditorium to watch my first Naacho show. Naacho is Princeton’s premier South Asian dance company. I had always wanted to attend one of their shows, and this year a first-year student from my hometown was performing, so I had an extra reason to go. I was blown away by the dancers’ infectious energy and excitement, the intricate and clean formations, and the diversity of styles they showcased, and I cannot wait to attend another one of their shows next year. Being in Triple 8 has shown me just how much work goes into putting together a show, especially the week leading up to it, so I had a lot of respect for the dancers and choreographers who spent many late nights rehearsing and poured their hearts into the performance. I have never seen so many dancers evidently having so much fun on stage, and the audience was hooked.


Balcony view of dancers on a large stage under blue light in front of an enthusiastic audience


Balcony view of dancers on a large stage under red light in front of an enthusiastic audience


After a packed day, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. The following morning was Easter Sunday. I was happy to see the sun was out again, and I headed to the U-Store to catch the bus to Stone Hill Church. Usually, we have approximately 10-15 students on the bus, but this week the bus was completely full, and so was the church sanctuary, which was such a blessing to see! The service was filled with joyous music from our worship team, brass band, and choir, and our senior pastor shared an engaging message which had the entire congregation laughing. After the service, students headed to various Easter brunches generously hosted by PCF staff members and local families. I attended brunch with my “adopted family” from Stone Hill. It was very special to eat an incredible home-cooked meal prepared with love and enjoy the warmth of a home together with other students.


A concrete and stone sign stating “Stone Hill Church of Princeton”


Over thirty students in front of Stone Hill Church


Other students and myself sitting at a table for Easter brunch


After returning to campus, my friend Grace and I remarked how beautiful the magnolia trees were and took advantage of the sunny weather to take a few photos.


My friend Grace and I standing in the middle of a walkway lined by blooming magnolia trees


A photo of myself reaching up to touch a branch of a blooming magnolia tree


Myself leaning against a magnolia tree in front of upperclass dorms


Next, I headed to Dillon Gym for a Triple 8 rehearsal for a spring choreography video (stay tuned for our video releases this summer!), after which I finally sat down to do some work. The events and celebrations of the weekend were very meaningful and brought me a lot of joy, but I certainly had a lot to catch up on. I spent the rest of the evening working with a friend in Firestone Library and Murray-Dodge Cafe, where we grabbed free cookies to fuel our brains.


The basement of Murray-Dodge holds Murray-Dodge cafe, home of free cookies, coffee, tea, and chalkboard art


What a weekend! Most of my weekends are not nearly this busy, and I did have some catching up to do the following week, but I wanted to share this special weekend in the life and prove that it is possible to relax and have fun even in the midst of a crazy semester. Thank you to all those who organized these events!

Live, Love, Brown Co-Op

At Princeton, all first- and second-year students are enrolled in the unlimited dining plan. This plan gives students unlimited swipes to enter into any of the dining halls on campus, as well as a daily allotted $9 allowance for “late meal” at Frist Campus Center. As upperclassmen, however, students may choose to sign up for a meal plan, join an eating club or go independent, meaning students are responsible for cooking their own meals. As an independent student, you may also join one of several dining co-operatives (“co-ops” for short) on campus.

Each of Princeton’s five co-ops has its own menu specialties. For example, 2D is all-vegetarian and International Food Co-Op specializes in—you guessed it—international cuisines. Although various dorm halls have public kitchens for all students to use, each co-op has its own private kitchen and dining space that every member has 24/7 access to. Every co-op varies in its structure and duties, but members can generally expect to have one cook-shift per week during which they cook alongside two to four other students, as well as one chore per week.

I joined Brown Co-Op this year, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made while at Princeton. The co-op serves dinner every night of the week and brunch on the weekends. At each meal, there are both meat and vegetarian options, various sides, and typically some sort of dessert. Another huge plus is that there are always leftovers available for lunch the next day. I help cook dinners on Sundays, help with the clean-up after our cook-shift, and am responsible for unloading and putting away our grocery deliveries every Wednesday morning. Our pantry and several fridges are always stocked with fresh produce, dairy products, breads, and really anything you might need for an impromptu meal at two in the morning.

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of baking every Friday night with my friend, Anki. Every Friday after dinner, we’ll assemble all of the ingredients and materials necessary for whatever recipe we have decided on. One time, this involved us going on a hunt for walnuts and dark chocolate bars, ultimately finding them at the nearby CVS. Our baking ritual gives us a space to unwind from our stressful weeks.

Joining a co-op can offer students greater flexibility in their schedules, and can be a much more budget-friendly option when compared to other dining alternatives. For me and my own dietary needs, going independent was the best option as I knew I’d have more control over what exactly I was eating at each meal. With how busy Princeton life can be, though, the co-op provides the best of both worlds, as we all share many of the responsibilities associated with cooking and cleaning. I love making myself breakfast and lunch each day—cooking provides me with a grounded moment of normalcy amongst the rest of my busy schedule, and it’s something I always look forward to. Best of all, Brown has given me a warm community of people brought together by our mutual love for food and cooking, and I would not want to have it any other way.


Group photo of students baking.
One night, Anki and I brought in a few of our friends as guests into the co-op to bake cookies—all 30 of these cookies were gone within 24 hours.

My Go-to Spots for Late Night Cravings

If you’re anything like me, then you’re often finding yourself hungry between the wee hours of 9 PM and 2 AM (especially if you’re pulling the occasional all-nighter!). With all the dining halls on campus closing for dinner at 8 PM, I’ve become quite familiar with all the spots to grab a bite at unconventional hours. Here are my rankings of the best places to find food on campus when you need to satisfy that late night craving:

1) Wawa

I’m originally from northern New Jersey, so I was no stranger to Wawa coming to Princeton. But if you aren’t familiar, Wawa is a local convenience store chain—though, not your typical one. Apart from your standard drinks and snacks, they also have made-to-order hoagies, quesadillas, pizza, and a host of other sides and drinks. Located right in between our Dinky train station and Forbes College, the store offers a great option for both a quick bite or a full-blown meal. And it’s 24/7! That’s right, all day everyday. (P.S. One of my favorite things to get there are their Wawa donuts!) 

2) Studio ‘34

Studio ‘34 is one of campus’s hidden gems. The mini-convenience store is located in the basement of Butler College and operates at the following hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 9 PM-2 AM. It was closed down during my freshman year, but as soon as it opened back up when I was a sophomore, Studio ‘34 became one of my most frequented hang out spots. It was the perfect place on the weekends to refuel with friends after a late night out on the Street, or even for a snack-and-study session during the week at one of the common spaces nearby. Definitely a go-to place for both eating and socializing!

3) U-Store

The U-Store located at 36 University Place (right by beautiful Blair Arch!) is another great option for late night snacking. It’s half merch/dorm furnishings store, half grocery store, and totally awesome. They have all your basic grocery store items, as well as fresh produce and even packaged meals from local restaurants like Tiger Noodles (a great affordable option if you’re craving food from Nassau Street!). For students who opt to be Independent, or for any students who like to cook, this is an especially convenient spot to grab ingredients. My junior year dorm is only a few feet away from the U-Store, so I’ve definitely gained a newfound appreciation for it this year. 

4) C-Store

Finally, the C-Store is a must have if you’re in a grab-and-go situation. Its options aren’t as plentiful as the first three, but since it's located within Frist Campus Center—the hub of student life at Princeton—many people pass through it on a daily basis. I’ve often found myself snagging a bottle of Coca Cola or a bag of Welch’s Fruit Snacks while I’m at Frist to study. However, the C-Store does close at 9 PM on weekdays and 11 PM on weekends, so if you’re up super late, you’re better off heading to one of the other stores! 
Honorable Mention: Late Meal at Frist

As an avid Late Meal enthusiast, I have to give a shoutout to one of my favorite Princeton pastimes. Like the C-Store, Late Meal is located within Frist Campus Center. It’s essentially another little cafeteria, intended for students who aren’t able to eat meals at the normal hours or in the dining halls. And if you’re a freshman or sophomore, then you can automatically get food here for free up to $9.50 everyday! They have a ton of different stations: grill, pasta, pizza, salad, Asian cuisine. The only reason it didn’t make my top four rankings is its time restrictions. Late Lunch is offered Monday-Thursday from 11 AM-4 PM and Late Dinner is offered Monday-Friday from 8:30-10 PM. But when it is open, it’s a student-favorite spot to grab food and hang out! (Be warned, though, it can get super busy during peak hours. I recommend ordering ahead for the grill station using our new TigerDash website!)

There you have it! For all of my fellow snack enthusiasts and night owls, these are my go-to spots that I definitely recommend you check out next time you have that late night craving!

Spring 2024 Street Week Diaries: Black, Religious, and Low Income

Winter has a funny way of feeling like fall right about now.


I think it’s just new-semester weather:


The brisk mornings give way to trees that snap in the wind.


The sun is out, and students study outdoors in brightly-colored lawn chairs.


After a winter break that rid campus of most signs of life, it is once again teeming with activity.


Returning to campus, I made the decision to look into joining an eating club. Here’s a diary snapshot of what my experience has been like:


What is Street Week?

Well, first, what is an eating club? 

Eating clubs are honestly a Princeton social construct. Think of a co-ed social group (not unlike a frat or sorority) except it also doubles as a dining hall for many upperclassmen.

Street week is a series of events tailored towards recruiting new members to join an eating club. Some clubs require you to undergo a process called bicker (the equivalent of rushing a sorority/fraternity) and some allow you to sign-in and join based on a lottery system.


Why Am I Participating?

Since returning from study abroad, I’ve felt disconnected from the other juniors on campus. Last semester, I was independent–meaning I cooked my own meals. As a result, I also ate on my own.

As my time starts to feel more limited, I want to spend less time on cooking while having more structured opportunities to reconnect with friends.


The Perils of the Street

In a way, the Street (where all the eating clubs are) is a fraught place. 

As someone who wears the hijab and does not drink, I often have to choose which activities to sit out of and how I want to show up on the dance floor. 

As a person of color, the Street is a place that confronts me with the predominantly white nature of Princeton. (Who is looking for the pretty Black girls on the Street?)

Throughout my experience of Street week, I continuously need to ask the clubs I’m visiting about their financial aid policies. The crux of my decision is reduced into a math problem: do I want to make friends or do I want to save money?



I have found my conversations with club members to be less draining than I thought they would be. I have been trying to be myself, whatever that means. 

I don’t know if I’ll get into an eating club, and that’s okay.

I let my identities prevent me from exploring the street for so long, so this is me trying to put myself out there. This is me being open to the experience. 

A Princeton Treat: How Coffee Shops Are Sites of Connection

Princeton is home to many beautiful coffee shops that are sites of bustling interactions, community building, and personalized comfort spaces. These places — from our beloved Small World to our unique Coffee Club —frequently witness a diverse crowd of students, faculty, staff, and visitors alike. From freshly brewed teas to seasonal specialties, a variety of drinks can be found in the hands of loyal customers who indulge in the comforting flavors of their beverage of choice. Indeed, as people flutter in and out of these shops, it becomes clear that coffee is more than just a drink — it is a treat for the exhausted, a buffer between introductions, and a medium to bring community together.


9:01 am: In the mornings, the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafts in the air as tired customers head to their shop of choice. As an observer, I watch as greetings and goodbyes intertwine with other chatter. This chatter is rich in substance as students check in with one other, make plans for the week, and navigate the highs and lows of college. There will be students who silently take out their laptops and start working while others will hastily say their goodbyes as they rush to their first class of the day. The crowd ebbs and flows but the mornings in the coffee shops are always filled with life.


12:31 pm: In the afternoons, things seem to be more calm. There is a stillness that seems to anticipate the incoming chaos. Soon, the afternoon lethargy catches up to the early risers and the coffee shops of Princeton become a blur. Orders are repeated, customer names are yelled, and this whole process repeats itself until the midday rush subsides to a peaceful swell.  


3:00 pm: One by one, I can see groups of people come in — coffee shops are now a space where people can work on projects together, study with one another, or simply exist in the presence of others. Coffee is no longer just a pick-me-up, but rather, a symbol for the shared experience that fellow Princeton students go through as they attempt to finish their work. 


6:00 pm: As the night falls and the shops prepare to close, people begin to leave one by one. Farewells are exchanged and tomorrow, the creak of the door will signify the start to a new day.


At Princeton, coffee shops host a vibrant, bustling, culture where people can come together. They are at the crux of our shared experiences as fellow Princeton students, staff, faculty, residents, and visitors are able to undergo an experience that connects us to each other in this quaint college town. Indeed, these shared experiences are a product of our environment; Princeton’s medium-sized campus, rigorous academic environment, and yet its social desire for connection are forged together in the many local coffee shops found nearby. There is something special about being able to feel like there is a place ready to accommodate everybody for every purpose — here at Princeton, whether you visit these sites to grab a sweet drink or to meet others, you’re always in for a treat.

The Best Coffee and Takeout in Princeton

Having spent five years as a Princeton undergrad (I took a gap year during the pandemic), I consider myself somewhat of an expert on where to grab a quick bite or cup of coffee. Please enjoy my list of favorites!

Coffee Spots

Sakrid Coffee Roasters

Located just across from Rocky College at 20 Nassau Street, Sakrid is a popular place for students to study or meet up for a great coffee. Its nitro cold brew on draft is especially excellent, as are its cinnamon lattes!

Interior of a coffee shop with light wood floor, high top tables, a bar with stools against the window and floral chandeliers

Rojos Roastery

Rojos is a small-batch, artisan coffee shop located in Palmer Square. It is devoted to maintaining relationships with independent producers, encouraging sustainable, smaller farming practices. Although it has limited seating space, its coffee is fantastic!

Exterior of Rojo's Coffee, shingled building with a rounded bay window

Coffee Club: New College West (pictured) and Prospect Avenue

The Coffee Club has two locations on campus: one in Campus Club on Prospect Avenue, and a second in New College West. With the goal of providing an inclusive space and excellent drinks, Coffee Club is run by students; baristas are often classmates and friends! 

Coffee shop counter with loft above it, light wood railing and paper lantern chandelier

Small World

Small World is a very popular coffee shop on Witherspoon Street, and many students would recommend it above all other coffee places in town as quintessentially Princeton (t-shirts and stickers are commonly spotted on campus). With lots of seating, it is a great place to meet friends and professors.

Exterior of Small World Coffee with a bench, floral planters, red lacquer paint and "Small World Coffee" awning


Less exciting but definitely worth mentioning is the Starbucks located on Nassau Street just opposite FitzRandolph Gate, the official entrance onto Princeton’s upper campus. Always a convenient option for a caffeine boost or a treat!

Exterior of Nassau Street Starbuck, tudor style building with green "Starbucks Coffee" lettering




Takeout food market that features breakfast sandwiches, hot premade specials, salads, all kinds of sandwiches and wraps, bakery items, and snacks.

Exterior of Olives, white building with black and purple "Olives" awning


Great thin-crust, organize pizza with various toppings and gluten free options.

Exterior of Jules Thin Crust, red brick building with white shutters and trim, a Jules Thin Crust sign and red awning

Princeton Soup and Sandwich

Underrated takeout–outstanding soup and sandwiches!!

Exterior of Princeton Soup & Sandwich, white building with black trim, black "Princeton Soup & Sandwich" awning, and black metal chairs and tables with orange seat cushions

Playa Bowls

Morning booster or afternoon treat–bowls and smoothies of all kinds.

Exterior of Playa Bowl, red brick building with white window trim and black letters reading "Play Bowls"

Maruichi Japanese Market

Opened March 2023, Japanese market and deli with great sushi takeout, produce, and specialty items.

Exterior of Maruichi, white and brick building with double doors and sign above the doors

A Week in DiningPoints

Like most other college students, I am always appreciative of (and searching for) opportunities to eat for free.

This is where Princeton DiningPoints come in.

The DiningPoints initiative was launched in September of 2022 as a way to encourage community among Princeton students, as well as between campus and the surrounding community, without having to worry about spending money out of pocket. The initiative grants all students on the unlimited dining plan 150 DiningPoints at the start of each semester (the equivalent of $150), and any points that are not used during the fall semester roll over into the spring semester.

These points can be used at a wide variety of dining locations both on and off campus, and they are the reason that I made it through some of the busiest times of the fall semester. During reading period, the promise of a hot chocolate from Small World Coffee at the end of each day was all the fuel I needed.

As a love letter and thank you note to this initiative, I present to you, dear reader, a week in my life told through DiningPoints.


Photo of Small World hot chocolate with Blair Arch in background.

Since I try to structure my schedule so that I have no classes on Fridays, I normally use this day of the week to get ahead on a lot of my work to have a more relaxed rest of the weekend. After spending a few hours in Firestone Library, I decided to get myself a cup of Small World hot chocolate to warm up and relax for a bit before meeting up with my roommate for dinner.


Photo of Junbi coffee on a library table alongside student work.

On Sunday after eating brunch, my friend and I decided to treat ourselves to drinks from Junbi during our work session. Since Junbi is so close to the Princeton Public Library, we chose to do some work there for a change of scenery. 


Photo of Tico's juice and sushi roll with SPIA building in background.

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week, with four back-to-back classes leaving me a very short window available for lunch. I decided to grab a bottle of Tico's juice and a sushi roll to-go from Frist Food Gallery. Although I had to eat somewhat quickly, I took the time to eat outside of my next class and call a friend from back home. 

Although I normally try to space out my use of DiningPoints a bit more, I felt fine using them in this way this week since I had some left over from last semester. There is a lot of freedom in the way you distribute your use of points: some of my friends had used them all up within the first month of the fall semester, while one of my friends still had 120 left by December. No matter how you use them, DiningPoints offer opportunities to connect with friends, take breaks, and treat yourself for all the hard work you accomplish.

Visiting the Princeton Farmers' Market

New Jersey is known as the Garden State, and you truly appreciate how the state earned its nickname when visiting a summer farmers' market. The abundance of fresh produce and flowers harvested just several miles from campus is astounding. Grab your tote bag and sunhat as I take you on a tour of the vendors at the weekly Princeton Farmers' Market, open at the Dinky train station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Thursday through November.

Two white tents with customers lined up beneath inspecting produce and flowers for sale

Our first stops at the market are the produce booths to stock up on fruits and vegetables.

The offerings from the multiple produce vendors, including Chickadee Farms and Terhune Orchards, change weekly depending on what is in season. Several of my June favorites are the strawberries, kale, and lettuce. July is when the market really shines, as the peaches, plums, blueberries, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, and summer squash are ready.

a table with beets with leafy green stems attached

After getting the produce essentials, it's time to find some decor to spruce up your dorm room or apartment. There are several vendors, including Longview Flower Farm, who sell a variety of cut flowers arranged in artful bouquets. I think that the July sunflowers would make a cheery statement centerpiece on a dining room table.

A variety of bouquets for sale under the white tent of Longview Flower Farm

Next up are the specialty vendors. Davidson Exotic Mushrooms sells, you guessed it, a wide variety of mushroom types, while Pickle Licious sells traditional pickles (of course) in addition to pickles on a stick (not my favorite, but must be appealing to others) and olives.

A table covered with a gingham-print tablecloth and cardboard pint containers full of various mushrooms on top, beneath the white tent of Davidson Exotic Mushrooms
A table covered with a black tablecloth and plastic containers containing pickles, beneath the white tent of Pickle Licious


Following these unique booths are several stops for prepared foods, like fresh-baked bread from Lost Bread Co., granola from the Granola Bar, and soups from the Soupeteer. There are also several vendors selling hot empanadas.

A vendor laughing as a customer departs with a paper bag from the Lost Bread Co. booth

To round out your shopping trip and add some pomp to your cooking and dining, you can select among different olive wood serving spoons and cutting boards from Mediterranean Delicacy. A more affordable option to bring the Mediterranean home with you, though, might be to purchase one of their olive oils instead.

Wood cutting boards and serving spoons arranged on a black tablecloth beneath a white tent

Lastly, Barking Good Bakery sells treats for four-legged friends. If you know any dog owners in Princeton, you could pick up some gourmet desserts for their pets here.

Smiling vendor in green shirt standing at table covered in green tablecloth with paper bags of dog treats arranged on top

This concludes the market tour! I'll load my finds into my bike basket and pedal back to my apartment. Visiting the market is a great way to take advantage of living in the Garden State during the summer.


Did You Say Free Food?

The other day, I was writing my Spanish homework in my room when my roommate, Jose, who was taking a nap, woke up suddenly. He then looked at the screen of his phone and quickly got up from his bed, letting out a sigh that denoted his distress:

Late meal is almost over, he said nervously as he rushed out of the room.

Confused, I stared at him from over my computer. I never understood his obsession with late meal. Late meal is a term used to describe an option offered by Campus Dining to students enrolled in the meal plan. Essentially, each student has access to two $8 credits: one for late lunch and another for late dinner. Technically, it’s meant for students who miss regular dining hours in the cafeterias because of classes or meetings. Late meal prevents them from starving. However, the way my roommate religiously got late meal seemed unusual (or so I thought) and left me deeply puzzled. For some context, Frist (where late meal is served) is located around 12 minutes away from Forbes (our Res College). Yet, he would sometimes purposely skip dining hall meals to go to Frist, braving the cold winter night. Worse: sometimes he would first eat at Forbes, and later, go for doubles at late meal! Seriously, why so much dedication? That day, I decided to elucidate that mystery and ask him point-blank what was up with him after he had gotten his meal.

Jose came back one hour later. I didn't even let him unwrap his chicken quesadilla and fries: I instantly bombarded him with the question that had been tormenting me to the point that I had been unable to focus on my assignment.

Why do you go through so much trouble for late meal? I asked.

He stared back at me, deeply offended by my question. "How dare you?" his face flushed with indignation. He asked as though he was too obfuscated to even utter a word.  My question seemed to have troubled him to his core. It was 50 degrees inside yet he was sweating profusely. He stared at me a little longer, trying to figure out if I was serious and whether I deserved an answer. He took off his coat while I stood still, waiting impatiently for his answer. Finally, he enlightened me on the foundation of his obsession.

That night, he unraveled the mystery of his love for late meal. At that time, everything seemed to come together. It all made sense. 

Jose first confided in me that he was often not hungry during the usual opening hours of the cafeterias so he preferred to wait until late meal, when he was sure he would be starving. Additionally, the consistency of Frist's menu assured him he would like what he ordered. He also had more choices. Whether he got a quesadilla, a burger, sushi, chicken tenders, fries or onion rings… he knew he would never be disappointed. He would sometimes be pleasantly surprised with a new addition to the menu: spring rolls, dumplings or pizza. Some days, when he just wanted to snack or grab something to take home for the night to help him push through his intense two o'clock reading sessions, he would only grab a bag of chips, chocolate chip cookies and a muffin. If that day he felt like eating healthily, he would grab a box of green grapes and one fresh banana. As long as the total was under 8 dollars: he could have them all. For free! Finally, and perhaps the main reason for his obsession, was that late meal was a unique opportunity to socialize.  Frist is already the center of student life at Princeton.  On a normal day, you find student groups promoting their dance shows, aspiring engineers working on P-sets together, Philosophy majors conversing about the meaning of life or Econ majors playing table tennis or billiards... etc. Add food to the combo and you have the exciting, vibrant and engaging environment of late meal. For Jose, late meal is one of the best things about Princeton!


Students hanging out in Frist South Lawn after lunch late meal.

After that conversation, I never again saw late meal the same way. My life truly changed. Forever. And my eating schedule as well!

How to Research a University

While preparing for university applications and alumni interviews, I wanted to find out more about what the schools I applied to were really like. Now that I have attended Princeton for a semester, I hope I can share with you some of the things you may want to look out for in your research as well as some resources you can use to learn about student life.

Obviously, your first stop should be either the University website or the admission website.


Screenshot of homepage of Princeton University website

Here, you can browse the tabs that catch your attention and allow interesting links to lead you on a trail. For example, I noted the concentrations (majors) and certificates (minors) that interested me, perused the research interests of professors in the molecular biology department and checked out the social media pages of extracurricular activities and student groups such as Triple 8 Dance Company (where you can now find an introduction of me!) and Manna Christian Fellowship. At the time, I got so excited that I noted down 25 activities I would be interested in participating in. As a vegan, I also looked for more information on the dining halls and found this guide written by the Greening Dining Club to be a wealth of information. We also have a student blog on being a vegan at Princeton.


Photos of the residential dining halls: Butler College, Center for Jewish Life, First College, Forbes College, Graduate College, Mathey College, Rockefeller, Whitman College

To learn more about the astounding breadth of past, current, and new classes, head to the Office of the Registrar. It was here that I first found MOL460: Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices in January 2020, and I still can’t wait for the opportunity to take this class in the future.


Screenshot of the course description of Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices

Another useful resource is what you’ve already found: the admissions blog! The blogs provided me with stories that put color and faces to the information on the website. There are also 13 current students who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, whether you are a prospective student, an anxious or curious applicant, or a deferred or admitted student. Please don’t be afraid to reach out by email! I wish I did when I was in your shoes, even if just to hear more about what college life is like.

Princeton also has an incredible student-run daily newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, also referred to as the ‘Prince’, where you can get an inside scoop on what is happening in the Princeton community. I turn to the ‘Prince’ for University news, opinions on current topics, and funny cartoons. In true New York Times-style, the ‘Prince’ also features a crossword, podcasts, photos, and videos.

For some more insider information, you can head to YouTube to see the beautiful buildings, numerous libraries, and various styles of dorms, as well as hear more about classes and what students do for fun. The University also makes a Year in Review - this year’s features the bonfire we had in celebration of the football team beating both Yale and Harvard - and provides more information on our Nobel Prize winners.

Don’t hesitate to chat with friends, family, and your high school counselor about your college plans - you might be surprised to find they have a friend who attended Princeton and would be more than happy to speak with you about their experience. I also learned a lot from asking my alumna interviewer about her time here.

Finally, you can take advantage of social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find people in your area affiliated with the University or message someone who studied in a field that interests you.

Happy researching!